'Living Single': Erika Alexander Reveals Some Execs Didn't Want To Cast Her As Maxine

May 13 2020

During Shadow And Act's most recent Locked Down With __ live Facebook Q&A, actress and producer Erika Alexander spoke on learning the fact that Living Single creator Yvette Lee Bowser had to fight to keep the character of Maxine Shaw in the show.

That was news to me," she said. “I read it [Bowser's interview] and I had no idea they wanted to remove me."

She did, however, tell a story about how one of the executives wanted to replace her with another actress, whom Alexander called "fantastic."

I was told that one of the big head honchos, after the table read, said Hey, we're going to have to get rid of Erika because she's not doing well at this table read.' I don't know how I couldn't not do well since I had just auditioned the day before and got hired," she said, adding that she and T.C. Carson, who played Kyle Barker, were the last cast members hired.

“There was another head honcho who called him out and said, ‘If you say anything about Erika Alexander, I'll beat your a**," she continued.

Alexander also commented, through tears, on Carson revealing how and why he was fired from the last season of Living Single. “I was heartbroken," she said of the exit, adding that Carson was the “Fred Astaire to her Ginger Rogers."

“There were things I wanted to do to mitigate that, but they weren't available at the time. He and I have talked about it and even discussed it with the show's creator, Yvette Lee Bowser. It was a difficult time, to say the least."

“It changed the dynamic completely," she continued. “I didn't know then what I was doing after that, I didn't know how to be...I just tried to be the same Max, but he had become my creative partner and my comedy partner. I'm glad for the time we had, I glad for the friends that I made, but he's my brother and we're soulmates because we're born on the same day...and there's things that we know about each other that's unspoken."

As to why it took so long for fans to know about Carson's firing, Alexander said it was his story to tell.

“Everyone has to decide how they want to say these things, so we were careful how we spoke about it," she said. “It's the chance to tell his side of the story in his own way...[It] took a lot of healing and time to get the whole picture."

Alexander also gave advice to Black creatives and creatives of color who have to work around the Hollywood system.

“If somebody says no, you have to go around another way," she said. "...It's not easy to do that. I hate that people who are trying to sell things that are not in the so-called mainstream have to work so hard to put their voices out there, but that's just the way it is.

“Until it changes, until we really take over and get a solid place where we can give correct funding and resources to voices of color [including race, ethnicity, gender orientation, age and geographic bias], we're going to have to work hard to overcome that," she continued. “Hollywood is very entrenched in an infrastructure of racism. They don't even know it exists."

Alexander said some things that can advance Hollywood include getting more representatives to support more talented people of color as well as get more people of color to start “powerful agencies and represent those new voices."

“And then we need investors who have the money to stop shucking and jiving and fund creators of color and it's not risky because we prove ourselves every day because we in despite the odds," she said. “So I'd put my money on that any day."

 

READ MORE:

Erika Alexander Posts Essay About ‘Living Single’ And The White Privilege Behind ‘Friends’

David Schwimmer Responds To Erika Alexander, Says He Meant 'No Disrespect'

Erika Alexander Schools David Schwimmer After He Suggests An All-Black ‘Friends’ Reboot

Erika Alexander Explains 'Friends' Success Vs. 'Living Single': "They Have The Complexion For The Protection"

John Lewis Documentary From CNN Films And Erika Alexander's Color Farm Media Is On The Way

'Reel It Back': Erika Alexander's Iconic Roles, From Maxine Shaw To Cousin Pam

 

Photo: Warner Bros. Television

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